Polaroid Land Camera. What Does “Land” Mean?

If you look closely at the nameplate of vintage Polaroid cameras, you will notice a lot of them have the words “Polaroid Land Camera” on them. Have you ever wondered what “Land” means?

You might be thinking the word “Land” means nothing, but in fact it means a whole lot especially to Polaroid enthusiasts. “Land” stands for “Edwin Land”, the founder of Polaroid. You can find a lot about Edwin Land on the internet, and I’m not going to dig deep into his story here. I’m just going to highlight a few points I think is really awesome about this guy, and the reason I call him the Godfather.

1. He dared to challenge big corporations

Kodak was Goliath and Polaroid was David. Edwin Land was good at finding ways to do things that big corporations like Kodak couldn’t do. He invented the whole instant photography system. Kodak had to play catch up, but because of its size and Land’s genius, Polaroid was always more agile and in the lead. Pretty cool.

2. He envisioned the Polaroid SX-70 to be as important as the telephone

Although this vision did not become a reality, he really dared to dream big. This is a lesser known Edwin Land video but it’s fascinating.

3. He did not like the OneStep camera

Although it was profitable for the company, and became one of the best sellers in the history of Polaroid, Edwin Land wasn’t particularly fond of this model. I don’t know the exact reason, but I guess it is because there is nothing innovative about the camera. It wasn’t pushing the limits of what’s possible.

But there is one thing I do know. Edwin Land more interested in long term development than short term profits. Dreams and visions mattered more to him than money.

4. He was Steve Jobs’ idol

Jobs said meeting the founder of Polaroid was ‘like visiting a shrine’. Jobs visited Land and was very impressed by him, calling Land a “national treasure”. Apple is at the intersection of art and science, just like Polaroid was.

5. He always wore a tie. Always.

Just like Steve Jobs and his black turtleneck, I noticed that Edwin Land always wore a tie. So far I haven’t seen him not wearing one. He wore a tie during presentations, at the lab, on a helicopter, everywhere he went. They say Nikola Tesla always wore gloves, because he believed in order to be successful, one needed to look successful. Not sure if that was the thing on Edwin Land’s mind.

If you have a picture of him not wearing a tie, please share it with us in the comments section!

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